Highlights from the Collection: Suara Welitoff’s "Kiss" and "Wireless"

Highlights from the Collection: Suara Welitoff’s Kiss and Wireless
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On View Apr 20, 2018 - Sep 30, 2018
Exhibition Location: Window Arcade Gallery

Window Arcade Gallery

These two videos are part of a series focused on exceptional artworks from deCordova’s permanent collection. Works are rotated periodically, allowing visitors to experience rarely seen pieces.

Welitoff’s looping videos linger on specific moments. Her process consists of transforming still images and found video footage through distortion, glitches, blurs, and repetition. Inspired by old films, she embraces low-definition and reduced color. By manipulating continuous frames, Welitoff fixates on a particular feeling or experience, evoking memory and imagination.

Both videos blur their subjects to varying degrees, lending a sense of mystery. Kiss (2010) features two hummingbirds set against a clear blue sky. The video slows their rapid wing movements, accentuating their delicacy and poise and suggesting a rare moment in time. Wireless (2012) captures two dark silhouettes moving awkwardly into a white void, the incognito figures lacking identifiable traits and any indication of their intentions.

Organized by Martina Tanga, Koch Curatorial Fellow.

For the Highlights series, deCordova invites individuals from outside the Museum to lend their voices and insights. Phyllis and Jerome L. Rappaport, who established the Rappaport Prize in 2000 and are dedicated supporters of contemporary art, reflect on Welitoff’s recent work:

Suara Welitoff's videos first pique my interest with their compelling images.  Their repetitive loops provide a soothing background for my various thoughts. In Wireless, one wonders who are these men and why are they attempting to walk through high snow. They are dressed like businessmen or spies, a matched pair until one tosses his scarf behind his neck and the other appears to have a bag over his left shoulder. They trudge forward and then backwards, sometimes almost submerged by the snow, never getting to a destination, each like a mythical Sisyphus, but with a companion in their endless journey. The black and white is simple and pleasing.  

Kiss provides a more lyrical and colorful image of two hummingbirds performing a ritualistic and romantic dance, moving closer with outstretched wings, coming together, circling each other a bit, and then gently separating but staying close in a circular flutter of wings. The moment of kiss is a resolution that seems to invite their repeated, magnetic interaction. The pale blue sky background offers an endless summer and the image of intimacy is anthropomorphic, inviting us to contemplate our own experiences of affectionate but brief connection.

–Phyllis and Jerome L. Rappaport

Welitoff studied improvisational music, photography, film and digital video at MassArt, Boston, although she considers herself largely self-taught. She has shown widely in the Boston area, including at the Museum of Fine Arts, the Institute of Contemporary Art, and the List Visual Arts Center.